What did poor MARC ever do to you?! (An Alternate Title for Chapter 8)

This week’s work reminded me of the importance of the access points cataloging provides and the way we have been able to expand this with MARC and now RDA.  It is great to be able to find a work for someone with almost any piece of info they come to you with (well except for the age old “I need that book with the blue cover?” conundrum).

I found it interesting to reflect on the evolution of the idea of author to creator in cataloging since the 1800s (104).  This really reflects the changing nature of library holdings.  We cannot just assume author/book anymore, instead we look at the creator or “statement of responsibility” of the item.  This could be an author, illustrator, choreographer, director, etc.  When faced with pages of  XX $a$h./$c stuff the my mind wanted to wander at times.  It was useful to learn more about what I am looking at in regards to a surrogate record.  The text provided LOTS of examples which I always love and find helpful when I then have to execute what is being learned.  I also appreciated the inclusion of a Harry Potter audiobook in the exercises (126).   1 Because I love all things Potter and 2 it is mentioned that media can often cause interesting cataloging problems to the point where sometimes you can see differences among institutions in the catalog (111).  I have experienced this both as a purchaser of audiobooks in a public library and as a patron searching for audiobooks or other media types.  It can be a frustrating bump on the way to access what you want.  (Sidenote – Jim Dale rocks!)


Other physical descriptors (many that would not fit on Dewey’s card) are detailed in our readings such as number and coded fields, edition, measurements, content type (spoken word, etc.), series statement, notes field, etc.  ISBN I find to be particularly helpful when I am looking for an item with a not-so-straight-forward title or multiple editions (128).  Sometimes I am trying to decide whether to order an item or a student may be looking for a specific edition – ISBN can be a very valuable access point.  Series statement is useful because it can lead you to more related works (152).  The statement “cataloging periodicals can be problematic” made me exclaim YES! out loud as I was reading (172).  I often find that I have to go to the physical periodical section of the library to really know what is going on and almost never trust the catalog.  I was glad to see the topic of when it is appropriate to create a new record included – this is incredibly important for the need can arise, but if done unnecessarily it can cause access problems.  The book really did a good job addressing its main audience of school librarians for throughout the book there were special notes on how to handle things like book fair books and other relevant, special examples.

When looking at the future of cataloging, RDA was just implemented in 2013 so things are still developing.  This tells me more changes are coming.  Some of the info about BIBFRAME (the future of bibliographic description) went over my head, but the most positive take-away for me is how it is proposed to better “leverage and expose relationships between and among entities” (181) – I like this because it can really expand access for people and that is the core of cataloging.

Works cited:

Kaplan, Allison G. Catalog It! Denver, CO.: Libraries Unlimited, 2016.

Image from Unsplash at Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/couple-smiling-behind-books-70252/


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